Childcare for Students in Further Education

This briefing paper identifies the potential childcare funding routes available to parents who are studying at FE level in the UK. It also highlights some of the difficulties in accessing childcare funding, and offers some recommendations for improving the situation in the future. 

The authors make a number of recommendations for government, FE colleges and childcare provides. These include:


  • Childcare provision should be a requirement of all new college buildings.
  • LSF guidance (and later the Skills Development Fund – SDF) should include:
  1. Payment of 100 per cent of childcare costs
  2. A mechanism for up-front fees (eg deposits) to be paid
  3. Funding for a childcare taster/settling in period.
  4. Childcare payments for some personal study time.
  • Learners should not be expected to meet additional childcare costs (on top of the LSF) from their Adult Learning Grant. 
  • The free entitlement to early years education for three- and four-year-olds should be increased to 20 hours as soon as possible, and available flexibly.

FE Colleges

  • Applications for courses from parents should be fast-tracked, to give them time to sort out childcare.
  • Colleges should employ a dedicated childcare support worker as part of their student services team, who can build a relationship with parent learners and be a point of contact for any difficulties. 
  • Colleges should establish and maintain college based nurseries wherever possible.

Childcare providers

  • Childcare providers should be willing to work within the constraints of the LSF and to work with colleges to put childcare support in place for learners.
  • Sessions should be flexible so that they can fit in with learners’ timetables.
Project details



Emma Knights, Daycare Trust

Grant amount and duration


July 2007 - December 2007



Childcare for adult learners in further education, Daycare Trust, 2007

Download report (PDF)